The Frosting on the Cake

Posted on: July 1st, 2013 by
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Cae Non in Snow 03These photos of Cae Non were taken a week after the main January snowfall which brought traffic to a standstill and rendered it a real pleasure to be cosily tucked up at home! Seven days later, most of the snow had melted from our village and the local towns were completely clear – as if it had never been! But the Snowdonia mountains were still cloaked in thick snow and ice…. and as we drove towards the sea at Pistyll and our land we discovered that so too were the fields and lanes there. In places the drifts were four and five feet deep. Here on the lane outside our gateway it was much more sheltered, but although melting fast, easy to guess how treacherous it had been earlier in the week!

Cae Non in Snow 06Looking up the field towards the stream and the Hafod, this sturdy and immensely useful addition to our outdoor facilities awaits four – or more! – strong men to transport it up to the Hafod. Anyone for a picnic??!!

Cae Non in Snow 09The island looked so pretty, as indeed did the rest of the land. It took on a whole different atmosphere… became a fairy domain full of magical energies. I found the intense quiet and peace of Cae Non in deepest winter extremely calming but also amazingly energising and utterly joyful and ended up stomping around in the snow, cheerfully singing and whistling, and feeling inexplicably happy. Standing on the island there was an intense still as if the land was listening.

The water in the channel around the island was actually still frozen – hence the faint similarity in appearance to Kendal Mint Cake in the picture! The fact that we get such icy winter conditions opens up all manner of possibilities, not least the option of skating in winters to come! As we are contemplating forming a larger pool at the bottom of the field, it would be perfect…. shallow enough for it not to matter if we plunge through the ice into water which would only be 12″ or 18″ deep!

Cae Non in Snow 13The white of the snow makes the Hafod appear strangely dark! From this perspective you cannot tell that there is a glowing log fire burning in our little stove, or that we had had to leave the door open because it was so hot inside!

Cae Non in Snow 16

Can this really be the same stream bank where I sit in spring and summer, basking in the sunny warmth of such a sheltered spot? Looking carefully at the snow, it is easy to see that our two Labrador dogs, (Stella and Melangell), have already thoroughly explored… there are paw prints everywhere!

Later when I was trudging back down to the car at the gate, a thought suddenly struck me. As a child my mother would make a traditional Christmas Cake with ancient china Santa and fir trees grouped on top, but for New Year, she would bake another fruit cake, this time decorated with a tiny coaching scene. A yellow stage coach pulled by four minute brown horses was racing towards a jolly little inn with comfortably glowing windows, while porters stood waiting for its arrival. Several green spiky fir trees provided a rural backdrop. To make it more realistic, my mother used to create “muddy ruts” in the icing “snow” by dragging the tines of a fork through it which had previously been dipped in gravy browning. It was very effective! As I looked down at the tracks in the snow I realised that they looked exactly like the sugar-crafted miniature ones…. and for a very odd few minutes, I felt as if I was walking in a scene on a massive cake…. I told you that the snow at Cae Non has strange qualities about it!!!!

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